The Marimurtra Botanical Garden
The Marimurtra Botanical Garden, the Costa Brava’s botanical garden, is a privileged place where you can enjoy its rich botanical, architectural, landscaping, cultural and human heritage. A paradise of the plant kingdom that, thanks to its geographical context, is closely related to the Mediterranean Sea.
Marimurtra has a total of four planted hectares divided into three different gardens – subtropical, temperate and Mediterranean. They feature a huge number of plants belonging to over 4,000 plant species from five continents, as well as a large number of specimens noticeable for their singularity, age or size. The beauty of the plants and the splendid views over the sea and the Costa Brava make it easy to understand why 100,000 visitors marvel at this great work every year.
The most exceptional architectural element in the garden is the Linnaeus Pavilion, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spots on the Costa Brava, situated right on top of the first cove of this rugged coast, Sa Forcanera. But the garden is full of surprising structures such as the Pergola, the Font I Quer Stairway, the Watchmen’s Tower, etc.
The Garden was classified as Cultural Asset of National Interest by the Generalitat de Catalunya and in 2009 it was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi. It is also member of the Iberomacaronesian Association of Botanical Gardens among other associations of cultural, environmental, scientific and botanical nature.
Marimurtra is the only botanical garden on the Costa Brava and one of the two botanical gardens in Catalonia (along with the one in Barcelona). Moreover, it is the only privately managed botanical garden and the oldest active scientific garden in Catalonia.
Why is Marimurtra a botanical garden?
Because it is a living museum that carries out the following tasks
CONSERVATION AND CATALOGUING
A wedding over the Mediterranean surrounded by romantic architecture and unique vegetation? It is possible at Marimurtra. The Marimurtra Botanical Garden is a privileged, special, unique and idyllic venue where you can celebrate the most special day in your lives.
We have different open air areas where you can hold your exclusive event in an enviable natural surrounding:
• Linnaeus Pavilion, the symbol of the romantic architecture on the Costa Brava. Right atop the first cliffs of this rugged coast next to Sa Forcanera cove lies the natural site where to exchange ‘I do’s’ surrounded by a privileged environment to be shared with your most special guests.
• Lloret Square and Goethe Square: Can you imagine feeling the Mediterranean as you never felt it before? Well, this is the right time and place to savour the appetisers.
• Tossa Square: The year of greenery? We love it! Because at Marimurtra everywhere is this neutral colour of nature. And if the perfect formula is feeling the refreshing green mixed with the blue of the Mediterranean breeze, here you will be able to experience a breath-taking moment, the long-awaited wedding reception prepared by our professional catering services.
Marimurtra stretches like a huge wild garden devoted to the plant kingdom. Its four hectares are divided into three different gardens, a great garden which houses other gardens. It is difficult to conceive that you can enjoy different emotions and experiences in a single place like Marimurtra, but everything is possible in this privileged spot on the Costa Brava.
These gardens featuring species from all over the world allow us to travel to different destinations such as the jungle pergola, the musical forest of eastern bamboos, arid extensions of America, Australian hidden corners and many other floral kingdoms. This is why Marimurtra is an ideal location for shooting films and carrying out photo shoots for fashion or commercial catalogues.
Marimurtra offers an immense variety of settings, all of them unique and privileged thanks to its ideal location. Their diversity turns the Costa Brava’s botanical garden into the ideal place to hold company or commercial meetings. A different, relaxed and paradisiacal atmosphere which is perfect to break out of the routine and where you can hold your corporate event.
Les Nits de Marimurtra
Every summer the Marimurtra Botanical Garden holds its own music festival. Les Nits de Marimurtra are the perfect occasion to enjoy the most spectacular and iconic scene on the Costa Brava, the Linnaeus Pavilion. It is an exclusive Mediterranean festival which is unique thanks to its ludic, cultural and musical offer and different thanks to its location and a programme prepared with great care. Les Nits de Marimurtra consist of a series of small-scale music concerts with an exclusive and limited capacity where a unique an intimate atmosphere is created.
You can find more information on Les Nits de Marimurtra at: marimurtra.cat/nitsmarimurtra |
Passeig de Carles Faust, 9
Blanes, Costa Brava (Spain)
Тел.: +34 972 33 08 26
Young Carl Faust arrived in Catalonia at only 23 brought by Körting Brothers, an industrial engineering company that produced pipes and plumbing supplies. He was selected for his administrative and business training as well as his knowledge of Spanish, French and English and his burning desire to conquer the world. Faust came from Frankfurt and was the eldest son of a well-off family representing the new liberal Germany born after the unification promoted by Chancellor Bismarck a few years earlier.
Faust proved immediately that the choice was right as he eventually became the manager of the Spanish subsidiary of Körting Brothers. However, very few people knew that, although he managed perfectly well in the business world, Faust felt more attracted by plants and insects, the sea and the forest, and interested in the natural environment surrounding him in a scientific way. He was well aware of it from early childhood: his letters lead to believe that, later in his life, he sometimes liked recalling the conversations with his grandfather, a kind and affectionate man who was a repository for folk wisdom of local farmers. Faust listened enthralled to his grandfather singing Baumlieder, that is, forest songs, while smoking a cigar and holding a glass of his own wine in his hand. Or that, when he was only ten years old, his essay on the cabbage butterfly was considered the best in the whole school and he was congratulated by his teacher.
Faust fell in love with his adopted country in very little time. In fact, he never left again. Here he succeeded, made friends and put down roots in such a way that, with the passing of time, he would claim that he belonged more here than in Germany. His integration became even more evident when he decided to set up his own business together with his compatriot Wilhelm Kammann in Barcelona. In 1908 they founded Faust y Kammann, a still existing company that provides solutions for fluid conduction, air-conditioning and plumbing applications.
From then on thirtysomething Faust became deeply involved in the social and cultural life of Barcelona and Catalonia. He joined numerous German cultural organisations based in the Catalan capital, took part in sports events and was one of the first members of Club Natació Barcelona (he was the club’s manager for a short period of time). In addition, he was sponsored to join the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya and became member of Futbol Club Barcelona, the distinguished Círculo Ecuestre, etc. In these entities he met some outstanding personalities of the large German colony in the city, the sports and the cultural world, with whom he built a group of friends and shared musical and literary soirées in his flat in Salmerón Street, now Gran de Gràcia.
During this period he explored the country while hiking with friends in the Pyrenees, the central part of Catalonia and along the seaside. And he finally found the ideal place to settle down in Blanes, the beginning of the Costa Brava, where the first cliffs emerge from a sea that wants to go inland, sometimes hits them with fury and sometimes caresses them. In 1918 he decided to take on his biggest project in this town: he bought land with the purpose of creating a botanical garden to be used as a haven for scientists and students who could not study the flora of tropical and arid climates properly in Continental Europe due to the weather conditions.
Those lands that up to then were old vineyards and garrigues would develop until turning into an epicurean republic of biologists, as he told Josep Cuatrecasas, an eminent botanist and friend of his, in a letter dated January 1938. And to the achievement of it he devoted his life, knowledge and resources since, in the mid-1920s, he decided to retire and focus his efforts almost exclusively on the design, construction, planting and maintenance of the garden, which he named Marimurtra, that is, “see and myrtle”, a symbol of the union between the Mediterranean flora and the sea itself.
Faust spared no expense and no effort. In 1921, the construction of the house and the library began –he would expand the library, which was the envy of many people, with classical and contemporary works until his death– according to designs by renowned architect Josep Goday. Nevertheless, the real change came with a promising Swiss landscape designer and gardener called Zenon Schreiber. With the help of four or five workers provided by local builder Pepito Burcet, Schreiber worked exceedingly hard in the subsequent four years to adapt the space. They moved many tons of stone from the quarry situated at one end of the property (the quarry was eventually turned into a magnificent pond now part of the marked route) to the entrance of the garden in order to build a rockery that is still impressive to this day; they worked the land so the plants could grow properly and the paths could be maintained; they fertilised the land with manure brought to Blanes in wagons because the amount required was so huge, etc. The enormous task allowed Schreiber’s successor, the then unknown Guillermo Narberhaus, to plan the areas and order what to plant in every one of them. Narberhaus, who also settled down in Catalonia and became one of the best landscape designers in the country, had the mission to provide the Marimurtra project with consistency and coherence.
Meanwhile, Faust acquired botanical, scientific and taxonomic knowledge. He began to read a lot, mingled with the main specialists in the country –there were many few of them− and developed contacts with international personalities. He became friends with Pius Font i Quer, a pioneer in the systematic study of botany in Catalonia who wanted to modernise it, and through him he contacted Josep Cuatrecasas, Miquel Aldrufeu and Carles Pau. He also met renowned experts at European level such as Walter Kupper, Erich Wedermann, Gustav Senn, Oscar Burchard, Robertson Prowschosky, Friedrich Wettstein… and Josias Braun-Blanquet, a Swiss living in Montpellier who showed him a wealth of opportunities with his Station internationale de géobotanique de la flore méditerranéenne (SIGMA). Faust followed SIGMA’s model when things went rough and wanted to save his garden from the political outrages committed during the Spanish Civil War, but he kept in mind that the threaten might also come from his native Germany or even communism.
Although Marimurtra was respected during the war conflict –run by Faust y Kammann Empresa Colectivizada’s manager and watched and looked after by Aldrufeu, Burcet and Swedish Erik Svensson, the gardener at that time–, the risk that his work, which had started to take form with three different areas and several thousand planted species, could be seized by whomsoever and eventually lost made him act and so he constituted a Foundation in Geneva with representatives from different botanical and natural history associations from all over Europe to be co-responsible for the garden’s destiny –the International Mediterranean Biological Station was born. A Board of Trustees was to manage his legacy when he died and perhaps avoid confiscation because it was an international property.
Once the Spanish Civil War had ended, Faust struggled to legalise his Foundation during the autocratic Francoist regime, ensure the support of the Spanish state with the inclusion of a couple of national societies and involve all members in the management of the Board of Trustees. Of course, he did not forget the daily routine of a garden that could not afford another eminent botanist and had to resign itself to two men working from dawn to dusk so that all the work carried out until then was not lost. Nevertheless, at one point, Faust, who since 1939 had settled down in Blanes for good and went to Marimurtra every day, could only keep one of them, Avelino Rabassa, a brave, tenacious and hard worker who did great things during a particularly rough time in the garden.
Faust died in April 1952 at the age of 78. Late in his life he felt tremendously anxious about the future of the garden, but maybe he died with the certainty that his magnum opus would be continued.
This notwithstanding, he never missed an opportunity to keep expanding his library; support specialists who later became authorities in their field (the most paradigmatic example was Ramon Margalef, who became a world renowned marine ecologist); give advice to institutions and individuals; ensure that the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) opened a research centre in Blanes as he provided land, contacts and training for researchers; and finally create a new foundation in 1951 according to the Spanish laws of the time, which would inherit his project and idealism.
Carl Faust was an exceptional figure, a patron of sciences who enjoyed very little recognition in our country. He promoted botany although he was not a botanist; publishing although he was neither a writer nor an editor; international relations although he was not a diplomat; science although he was not a scientist; researcher training although he was not a researcher. He once picked up two quotes by his beloved Goethe, who had already looked to the south in his famous novel Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, and had them engraved in a plaque situated in the square dedicated to the German romantic: “I love those who yearn for the impossible” and “Would ye on this earth but give us / Steadfast minds and dauntless courage / We, oh kindly ones, would leave you / All your spacious heavens above us!”. A very Faustian way of understanding the world as well.